German Occupation Medals

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The German Occupation Medals were a series of awards, also known as the "Flower War medals", created to commemorate the annexation of Austria, Czechoslovakia and the Memelland by Nazi Germany in the interwar period. All three medals were designed by Professor Richard Klein, Director of the Munich School of Applied Arts and a favoured artist of the Nazi establishment.

Background[edit]

When Adolf Hitler was appointed German Chancellor in 1933, it was on his immediate agenda to consolidate his power. Having accomplished this through a series of political moves and strong arm tactics, his next goal was to rebuild the German Armed Forces. It was impossible to rebuild the armed forces without breaking the Versailles Treaty, but this could not be done safely without a way to defend Germany in case of a response from the Western Allies of France and the United Kingdom. Hitler rejected the Versailles Treaty and began to strengthen the Armed Forces. He reinstituted Military drafting in March 1935, took control of the Rhineland in 1936, and sent the Condor Legion to Spain to fight along General Franco and be trained in the art of modern warfare.

Germany began to exert diplomatic pressure with military threats to annex territories which contained German-speaking minorities. The Allies, wishing to avoid war at almost any cost, stood idly by when Austria was annexed, gave in to Hitler's demands in Czechoslovakia, and allowed the return of the Memel district. The "peaceful" expansion process culminated only with the invasion of Poland, when the United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany and World War II began.

The medals[edit]

See also[edit]